Friday, 11 November 2011


Earlier this week, Jane and I were out shopping in Reading (which is our nearest big town), and we noticed that the shop called "Oil and Vinegar" had re-opened after having disappeared for a while. Readers in the UK will probably know of this business, which has several branches around the country. It describes itself as a "Culinary Gift Shop", but as the name suggests, most of their wares are related to oil and vinegar. You can buy many different types of oil and vinegar "on draught" (you can buy suitable bottles in the shop), and they always have little bowls of them for you to taste so that you can try before you buy. They have some really ususual ones too: for instance, I tried Walnut vinegar, which was lovely. I have had Walnut oil many times, but never Walnut vinegar.

Those of you who know us well will know that Jane and I are very keen on collecting little bowls. We often buy one as a souvenir of a holiday or a special occasion. Well, an outing to Reading hardly counts as a special occasion, but we indulged ourselves anyway, and bought three little bowls in the Oil and Vinegar shop. My photo doesn't really give you much idea of their size, but when I tell you that all three together cost only about £11 you will understand that they are genuinely little...

The white one is clearly meant to be an olive bowl, but the little red, yellow and green one is an eminently suitable receptacle for some of this:-

This is a "Bruschetta" mix that we have bought from Oil and Vinegar several times before. It's a dried mixture of tomatoes, peppers, garlic, basil and oregano. You mix it with some water, let it stand for five minutes and then add some olive oil to it. Magic happens and it becomes a lovely rich gloopy paste which you can spread on toasted ciabatta, or simply dip bread into. It's not only very tasty, but also very convenient since being dried it keeps for ages, yet is ready in minutes when you want some. Strongly recommended!

So here is the set "in action"...

Bruschetta (bottom left); Olive oil with Balsamic vinegar (centre, foreground), Kalamata Olives (right), with bread for dipping. Yummy!

Off on the VIP trip to Masterchef Live today, so no comments from me for the next couple of days, but hopefully I'll pick up a few good ideas...


  1. The bowls are gorgeous - and the bruscetta dip looks yum - hope you enjoy your trip.

  2. I love bowls too - I especially like your olive one. Very much looking forward to tales from Masterchef!

  3. Mark, I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but when I was in my early 20s, I lived in Reading! I think we were there for around five or six months, my brother, French boyfriend, two other Australian guys who were friends of my brother, George the crazy Spanish guy and myself. And we all worked at a restaurant/pub right on the Thames... I can't remember the name of it now... The six of us lived in this quite dodgy street - Zinzan street was the name, well we were all together in this one little room on the top floor of the worst building of the street.

    It was by far one of the best periods of my life. Reading was not exactly my idea of heaven on a stick, but gosh we were young and just had the time of our lives.

    Your bruschetta topping in a jar looks absolutely marvelous. I will have to see if we have the like here.

  4. It is funny how interesting you made a posting about little bowls. I would have never thought of bowls as having specific uses. The Bruschetta sounds really good and convenient besides. I will have to look around and see if we have that here.

  5. What beautiful bowls ~ they would look great with whatever you put in them.
    I adore ciabatta with various dips but I think I like just olive oil and balsamic vinegar the best.
    I must admit the Bruschetta sounds wonderful and so convenient too.
    Enjoy your Masterchef trip...I'm a huge fan so will be waiting for your up and coming posts with interest ;D

  6. I'll be over for appetizers promptly :) Super cute bowls!

  7. Hope you had a wonderful time at Masterchef Live. I love the little bowl that you put the bruschetta in, so pretty, and the bruschetta itself looks delicious, and convenient too. I'll have to see if I find some myself.

  8. Some of my favourite food, and the wee bowls set off the ingredients so well.

  9. Yummy looking snack there - enjoy your trip to masterchef!


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.